Saturday, 20. September 2014
29. 05. 14. - 17:00
A wargamer dressed as a soldier and carrying a fake gun nearly died when he went strolling into a packed subway station in a country on high alert after a series of public killings.
Ming Shao, 29, who was off to join buddies playing survivalist games in Taiwan, said he couldn't be bothered to pack his uniform and imitation weapon.
So he strolled on to the underground train in the city of Taipei in Taiwan in south-eastern China looking like a deranged gunman about to open fire. He even had a helmet fitted with night vision.
"This man doesn't realise how close he came to losing his life," said a police officer. "Armed specialists were poised to open fire and ask questions later. If he had twitched or looked the wrong way he would have been dead because our priority was to protect the innocent civilians on that train."
According to the man he was en route to a wargaming afternoon with pals. "I didn't mean any harm," he later told police who let him off with a caution - and told him to go home and change.
China has experienced many attacks of innocent people in public places in recent times, making the population jumpy when they see strangers behaving unusually.
Just last week at the same station in Taipei a man went on a stabbing spree aboard a subway train, killing three people and wounding 25 others in the worst such incident on the island.
Cheng Chieh, a 21-year-old college student, was immediately arrested after the incident, the first fatal attack on the city’s subway system since it began operating in 1996.
Three people died during the attack and a fourth victim, a 62-year-old woman, died later in hospital. The other three victims were a woman and two men.
Cheng spoke of his motives during police questioning. "He told the police that he had wanted to do a ‘big thing’ such as this since his childhood," Chen Kuo-en, chief of the New Taipei City police bureau, told reporters.
"He said he had planned to do this after his graduation, but last week decided to act ahead of his schedule," the police chief said, adding that the attacker had no medical record of mental disorder.
The student bought two knives, including a 30-centimetre-long knife and a smaller one at a supermarket in Taipei in preparation for the attack.
After being alerted to the attacks, authorities immediately reinforced police deployment on the busy subway system, which transports around 1.85 million visitors per day.
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